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Jogger bitten to death: Partial prison sentence for dog breeder

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Jogger bitten to death: Partial prison sentence for dog breeder

The guilty verdict – 15 months partially suspended – was due to gross negligent homicide, the verdict is final. The defendant did not have “sufficient control” over three American Staffordshire Terriers. She made a full confession.

A 38-year-old was legally sentenced in Linz on Thursday to 15 months in prison, five of which were unconditional, because three of her dogs bitten a jogger to death during a walk in Naarn (Perg district) in October 2023. The public prosecutor’s office had filed a criminal complaint against the breeder for gross negligent homicide. The defendant made a full confession: “I take full responsibility.”

She “tragically failed” to maintain control over the animals at all times. She could not undo the accident, asked her “sincerely to apologize” and expressed her “deep condolences” to the bereaved, the defendant read out a statement in the jury courtroom, which was filled to the last seat. She didn’t want to answer questions. No witnesses were heard either.

His client remains “very upset” by what happened on October 2nd. The defense attorney described her as a “very responsible dog owner.”

Defendant “overestimated” himself

The public prosecutor, however, accused the owner of “overestimating” herself. In fact, the prosecutor said, she couldn’t hold the three animals, which weighed a total of 72 kilos. This assumption was “purely illusory”. At no time was she able to hold the pulling weight of the “dangerous dogs”, which she should have been able to do at all times.

The survivor’s lawyer demanded partial compensation of 20,000 euros each for the widower and son, which they were awarded by the single judge. The “bestial” manner in which the woman died would not even be wished on an enemy, he said.

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Dogs now euthanized

On October 2nd, the 60-year-old was attacked by three American Staffordshire Terriers while jogging. The defendant was walking on a dirt path with the male dog – who had since been euthanized – and two other female dogs when she was suddenly knocked down by the male animal. When the owner looked up again, she saw that all three animals were with the athlete. The breeder was no longer able to fend off the attack. The jogger did not survive the dog attack. She suffered fatal bite wounds to the head, neck and neck area.

The fatal bite attack was also a reason to tighten dog ownership laws in Upper Austria. The state parliament parties have already agreed on a corresponding amendment in the subcommittee. Six breeds are to be classified as dangerous, for which there are special requirements for keeping them, including the requirement to wear a leash and wear a muzzle. According to the intended regulations, an “increased training requirement” applies to people who want to get a Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Dogo Argentino, Pit Bull and Tosa Inu.

Suitability test for everyday use

This should also generally apply to large dogs with a height of more than 40 centimeters at the withers or a weight of more than 20 kilograms. In concrete terms, this would mean that owners of these dogs would have to complete a practical test, a so-called suitability test for everyday use, in addition to the general proof of competence – six hours for small dogs. The behavior of the dog and its master/mistress is checked in common everyday situations such as in traffic or in crowds of people. It is also intended to give communities more flexibility to act after incidents involving dogs. (APA)

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